Mitt Romney tends to avoid talking about his Mormon faith- but he knows he can always count on it to help raise some much-needed campaign cash.

And so Mitt Roney visited Boise, Idaho today- not because of the state’s small number of electoral votes (4)- but because of Idaho’s large (14%) Mormon population, Boise’s large (4.8 acre, 35,325 square foot) Mormon temple and, more than anything else, because of the buckets of cash-money his campaign will receive from other LDS members on this, his third visit to Idaho since June.

Stay tuned for more visits by Romney to other highly-Mormon states: Utah 62%, Nevada 9%, Arizona 6% and Oregon 4%.

Presidential candidate Romney visits Boise
By Jared S. Hopkins
Times-News writer
BOISE – State lawmakers, preparing to leave the Capitol next week, paused as they went for lunch Tuesday to listen to a presidential hopeful.

Mitt Romney, traveling the nation to raise money for what has already become an expensive and crowded Republican primary race, spent the day in Boise for a fundraiser.

It was his third visit in less than a year to the Gem State, and he is the first declared 2008 candidate to visit Idaho. Romney, who turned 60 on Monday, spent 25 years in the private sector, led the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and, most recently, was governor of Massachusetts.


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Romney, who spent a summer near Glenns Ferry when he was 15 years old, said he has friends in Idaho and told reporters Idaho could emerge as a key to winning the nomination with topics like energy and health care being important when Idahoans head to the polls.

“Idaho is an important state in the primary process. I think they’re going to have a pretty early primary,” he said. “If this is a place where I can raise money, I’m going to come and do that, as well as try and strengthen my political base so that in the event you have an early primary, I can be one the most successful contenders in that primary process.”

His comments come as Idaho primaries receive statewide attention.

A hot legislative session issue has been whether to implement closed primaries that prohibit nonparty members from voting. About one-third of registered Idaho voters are independent.

Additionally, the state Democratic Party recently moved its primary election to Feb. 5, while the Republican Party could move its primary from May.

“It depends when you have the primary,” he said of when he will return. “If you’re going to wait until June 5, it’s going to be a while.”

Speaking in front of the Statehouse, Romney had just made an appearance with Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, who said he is waiting to outright support a candidate.

“I don’t have a horse in that race,” Otter said. “I know that Mitt’s got a lot going for him. I think he’s a very attractive candidate in terms of charisma, in terms of his background.”

Romney said wind and solar power are viable options to make America energy independent, but also touted liquefied and gasified coal, a controversial topic in the past year for Idahoans that could resurface with the possibility for a gasification plant in southeastern Idaho.

“Those technologies are going to be extraordinarily connected to our resources in the American West,” he said. “I happen to be one of those that believes coal has a major role to play in the future of our energy policy.”

Statehouse reporter Jared S. Hopkins can be reached at (208) 343-0901 or jhopkins@magicvalley.com

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